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A Counting Lesson for the Obama White House: Why Women AND Catholics are troubled by the violations of conscience in the health care law

Noting that the Obama Administration’s “contraceptive” mandate continues to draw intense criticism, an article on Politico today stated, “The problem illustrates the complexities of Obama’s election-year calculus: Walk back the decision, and enrage women voters, a group he must woo to win reelection. Stick to it, and risk inflaming Catholics, a critical swing bloc that he can’t afford to lose too badly.

However, this characterization— that the issue is one of Catholics v. women— misses the mark.  These are not mutually exclusive groups. My faith and my gender are not at odds on the Obama Administration’s mandate that private insurance plans cover all FDA approved contraception, a definition which includes the abortion-inducing drug ella.

Polling demonstrates that I am not the odd-woman on this point.

An August Rasmussen poll revealed, 46% oppose forcing “contraceptive” coverage, while only 39% approve.  This is a stark contrast to the talking points of the Obama Administration which seek to paint opposition to its coercive measure as being a loud, but tiny, minority – consisting almost exclusively of Catholic bishops.

The issue is clearly not one of women versus men, either.  Women’s opinion, according to the Rasmussen poll, was nearly evenly split.  Only 40% of women approve, while 42% of women oppose the mandate.

Of note, Rasmussen did not mention that life-ending drugs and devices, such as the abortion-inducing drug ella, are included in the Obama Administration’s mandate.  Rather, the question posed was general, “Should health insurance companies be required by law to cover all government-approved contraceptives for women, without co-payments or other charges to the patient?”  It is probable that opposition to the mandate would have polled even higher had the full extent of the mandate’s nature been explained.

The Obama Administration is not “inflaming” merely Catholics, and many women would welcome—rather than be “enraged” by—a repeal of the mandate.  Certainly, far more Americans oppose the coercive measure than the narrowly-defined category of “religious employers” that the Obama Administration is willing to exempt.